Festival season is upon us, with Glastonbury taking place near the end of June.
While we’re well versed in how to take care of our physical health at a festival (yes, you really should take a hat in case the sun comes out), what about the mental health side of things?
Mike McAdam, 38, co-founded Blink Mental Health, which provides mental health support at festivals.
After his mental health deteriorated in 2017, McAdam found his condition was too serious for primary care, but not extreme enough for secondary care.
He accepts there are lots of brilliant charities and campaigns encouraging people – particularly men –
to talk about their mental health and reach out if they need it, but “it’s incredibly difficult to get help”, he suggests.
This is where the idea for Blink came from – the ultimate aim is to set up a ‘Blink Bank’ providing money for private therapy for those who are stuck on waiting lists.
McAdam accepts that is “really ambitious and would cost millions”, so as a starting point, Blink provides wellbeing at festivals.
Blink is going to six festivals this summer – including Boomtown and Wilderness – where it will set up dedicated tents which McAdam calls “a place to relax,
get away from things [and] take your mind off the festival”, with bean bags and mindful activities such as colouring and jigsaw puzzles.
Blink also offers between 12 and 18 hours a day of free talking therapy with fully qualified and accredited psychologists or psychotherapists.
“It’s not just about diagnosed mental health conditions, everyone should look after [their] mental health,” McAdam says.
He suggests festivals are a great place to open up conversations around mental health.